You might want to check the CPI (the Christmas Price Index). Calculated by PNC for the last 28 years, it tells us the value of the items in “The 12 Days of Christmas.”
This year, the PNC CPI totaled $24,263.18 for anyone purchasing one set of each item. Repeating each item as the song suggests brings cumulative spending (364 gifts) to $101,119.84. At the PNC CPI site, you can see a whimsical interactive animation of the index and check out how the index has fluctuated since it began.
Here is last year’s econlife look at the index.
The Economic Lesson
This year, the annual increase for the song’s gifts, 3.5% was the same as the change in the CPI, end of October 2010-end of October 2011.
Looking specifically at the Christmas Index, we would see that prices varied. The ladies and maids prices were stable while the 7 swans-a-swimming at $6300, were 12.5% more than last year. (Petsmart was one source of PNC’s prices.)
An Economic Question: You can calculate how long it will take a certain statistic to double by dividing 70 by that number. For example, if the inflation rate is 3.5%, how long will it take prices to double? (You can see why economists target an inflation rate that is closer to 2%.)